Peak District youth choir wins Songs of Praise Choir of the Year final

Great Longstone choir Perfect Pitch is celebrating after winning the Songs of Praise Young Choir of the Year 2019. Musical director Emma Hopkins, centre, with performers and judges.
Great Longstone choir Perfect Pitch is celebrating after winning the Songs of Praise Young Choir of the Year 2019. Musical director Emma Hopkins, centre, with performers and judges.

A Peak District choir is celebrating after winning the Songs of Praise Young Choir of the Year award in a final televised to millions on BBC One.

Perfect Pitch, which is based in Great Longstone, became the first community group ever to win the prestigious competition after beating two schools in the final, broadcast on Sunday, June 2.

Musical director Emma Hopkins said: “It was completely unexpected to get to the semi-finals, let alone reach the final and win.”

Emma’s husband, Tom Barker, accompanied the 40-strong choir on piano as they sang Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet.

Emma said: “We really enjoyed learning this song, this choir loves to perform, and this piece allowed them to express themselves. Whatever the result, I would have been really proud of them.”

The children have had to keep the result a secret since it was recorded in March at Bolton’s Victoria Hall.

Youngsters Alice Chetwood and Ruby Pearce accepted the award from Songs of Praise judge Carry Grant in front of the cameras, while the rest of the choir hugged each other, and their parents and supporters cheered.

Carry said: “Beyond sparkly — every child on the stage was completely engaged. I wanted to be moved in my heart and that really did it.”

JB Gill, a member of pop group JLS, said: “You guys have a great body of sound, you’re very composed but at the same time are fun and loose with it. There were beautiful dynamics and great diction.”

BRIT award-winner Russel Watson added: “I’d love to be in this choir. I thought it was a great interpretation of the lyric, hugely engaging, absolutely fantastic job.”

The choir is open to new members. For details, visit perfectpitchchoir.co.uk.

To watch the final on iPlayer, go to http://tiny.cc/bcwx7y.